The BC Wildfire Service says the Gilpin Grasslands Park wildfire grew upslope a bit overnight Monday, but that growth was away from communities and toward containment lines.
The fire, which broke out Sunday, is now estimated at 170 hectares. It’s suspected to be human-caused.
Information officer Kim Wright says that may change once crews are able to more accurately map it.
It’s burning 10 kilometers east of Grand Forks and seven kilometres west of Christina Lake, adjacent to Highway 3.
Thirty-seven BC Wildfire staff are working on the blaze, an increase of 10 to help relieve the 27 firefighters from local fire departments who also responded.
They are also using two helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment as they extend a containment line and lay down hose lines.
Wright said the fire behaviour was “minimal” Tuesday morning, but it was still smoking and remains highly visible to residents and travellers.
The highway has remained open throughout. Although traffic control has been in place,
Wright said it hasn’t been necessary today, although they ask drivers to slow down and pay attention to signage.
She said it is “not completely abnormal” to have wildfires in our area in October and notes most of the province is experiencing drought. Rainfall in September was below average throughout the province, including the Southeast Fire Centre, although it wasn’t quite as bad as in some parts.
“The fire started in a grassland park, which provided a continuous fine fuel source,” Wright said. “That, combined with the below-average precipitation, did help the fire spread rather quickly.”
It’s one of a total of 71 wildfires still burning in the Southeast Fire Centre.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary activated its emergency operations centre on Monday in response to the fire.
“Even though the community of Christina Lake is not currently threatened in any way by the Gilpin blaze, we urge people to register for emergency notifications if they haven’t already done so, to follow the RDKB online and to log on to BC Wildfire dashboard for regular updates,” Christina Lake regional director Grace McGregor said in a news release.